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Community comes together to raise money for Chester family after mother lost to cancer

MT. PLEASANT—A fundraiser will be held at the ConToy Arena in Mt. Pleasant Saturday to help the family of Aleesha Stuart Bailey, 43, a mother of four, who died earlier this week of cancer.

She had also been diagnosed with dermatomyositis (DM), a rare autoimmune disease that causes muscle weakness, skin rashes, fatigue and pain. It is incurable but ordinarily a long-term disease.

The main sponsor of the gathering at ConToy is Tate Farms of Fountain Green. Events will include horse-related competitions, a raffle for a colt, a silent auction, and a food and bake sale. Activities start at 8 a.m. and will continue until the competitions are finished and the goods are sold. 

Aleesha grew up in Woodruff, Rich County. She came to Sanpete County to attend Snow College. She became a cheerleader and met her husband, Earl, at the college.

She and her husband established a cattle ranch in Chester. Their children are Hayes, 20; Kalon, 17; Daley, 15; and Chancey, 12.

Kalon and Daley will be attending North Sanpete High School this fall, while Chancey will be at North Sanpete Middle School.

Aleesha had worked for four years at Oxbow Academy, a group home for boys outside Mt. Pleasant. “She loved the boys and loved their families,” her friend, Marcy Curtis, says.

One of her reasons for taking the job was to get medical insurance and to support her son while on his mission. Once her illness took over she was not able to work. 

She was first diagnosed with DM In October 2020. Then in January of this year, she was diagnosed with colon cancer. Her cancer treatments exacerbated the DM, and the DM made it harder for her to fight cancer, Curtis says. 

She went through surgery in which part of her colon was removed. In April her wish was to be at her son, Kalon’s Junior Prom. She was able to make it and dance with him with the help of friends and school administrators. 

Then a couple of months ago, she took a turn for the worse. It was hard for her to stand up. She couldn’t go outside because she couldn’t be exposed to the sun. Drinking water was painful.

But Aleesha kept fighting because she wanted to see her oldest son, Hayes, 20, who was due to return from a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He came home about two weeks ago, and Aleesha texted Curtis, to say, “It’s so good.” 

She died Monday, Aug. 2. 

Perhaps the highlight of the fundraiser will be the horse competitions, including team branding (for four-man teams), a ranch hand competition (also for four-man teams) and three different team-sorting events. Entry fees range from $10 to $100, with all proceeds going to the Bailey family. 

There will also be a raffle for a colt raised at Tate Farms. Raffle tickets may be purchased on Venmo. For details go to the fundraiser’s Facebook page, #tfrhevent. Or you can purchase tickets in person at ConToy Arena on Saturday. 

Additionally, dozens of items have been donated for a silent auction. Among them are quilts, saddles, clothing and certificates for movies, Curtis says.

Finally, Shalan’s Drive Thru in Moroni will sell pulled pork sandwiches and donated baked goods, with all proceeds going to the family. 

A viewing for Aleesha will be held Sunday from 6-8 p.m. and Monday from 9:30-10:30 a.m. at the Wales Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. at the Wales Ward. Burial will be in the Wales Town Cemetery. 

Read more about Aleesha in her obituary.